Favorite thing: But the daily life of women obviously wasn't just confined to decoration (no, really!). There are also some beautiful sculptures representing motherhood, and even an intellectual side, shown by the writing of letters.
Favorite thing: One of the most beautiful elements of the Khajuraho statuary is the depiction of women in what is probably every-day life. There are a number of activities which are repeated - here you can see women painting their feet, probably with henna. A suggestion for the first one is that she is removing a thorn from her foot, but I think it is possible to see the paintbrush in her hand.
When the temples of Khajuraho were rediscovered in the 19th century by a British officer, TS Burt, he was quite shocked, and apparently described the carvings as being 'a little warmer' than necessary!
Looking at this depiction of what appears to be bestiality, one can sympathise!
Favorite thing: The Kama Sutra continues - a wide variety of positions are on display across the temple walls! Here you can see the carnal act being performed from behind, a 'reverse cowgirl' (!), a 69 position, fellatio, and a foursome!
The erotica is probably the single most famous aspect of the Khajuraho temples. Some scholars believe it to be a 'kama sutra in stone' - a guide for boys brought up all-male temple schools. Another theory is that they are there to protect the temples from lightning, since the rain god Indra enjoyed voyeurism and wouldn't want them destroyed. The theory currently considered the most plausible is that they relate to Tantrism, where the gratification of sensual desires is a way to achieve transcendance.
This couple clearly show a joyous celebration of this aspect of life.
Fondest memory: Khajuraho a place once well-known for Khajoor (dates) trees. Later periods broom making cottage industries flattened all the trees to flourish this business. Now it is very hard to find date tree in Khajuraho. Nearly 150kms from Jhansi railway station and 650kms from New Delhi (India) is also renowned for 25 mystery structures. In fact these structures are no ordinary, rather, are temples of ancient Chandella rulers (AD 900 – 1130). It is now part of world heritage list and world tourists visit the spot to appreciate the architectural values of combination between sexual and ritual positions sculpted on the walls justify the real sense of life of human intelligence towards spiritual gain.
Fondest memory: Photograph of the Rajgarh Palace at Datia in Madhya Pradesh, taken by Deen Dayal in the 1870s. Datia was the capital of the principality of the same name under the Bundela Rajputs in the 16th and 17th centuries. The Rajgarh Palace, seen in this view, is situated west of the old palace known as Nrising Dev Palace or Govind Mandir (c.1620). It was built by Subhakaran and accomodates governments offices.
Situated at about 2 km from the small town of Sanquelim and 8 km from Bicholim, in Valpoi taluka, North Goa, the Aravalem waterfalls are 50mts high. The Arvalem Waterfall is also a very scenic and beautiful picnic spot.
The Rudreshwar temple is also located here just besides the waterfall. One can reach the beautiful waterfall by descending the staircase after leaving the Rudreshwar temple. The best time to visit the place is after the monsoons. The water flow here during the monsoon is quite less. It has a lot of greenery all round with fruit laden trees with various fruits such as bananas, bread fruits and coconut palms to name a few.
Seasoned swimmers are often tempted once they reach the area. The ancient caves situated nearby known as the Aravalem caves or the Pandava caves is another major attraction in the place for the filmmakers as a favourite shooting spot in Goa.
There's only so much you can figure out on your own. I've made the mistake many times of trying to puzzle it out with a guide book since there are so many scammers whose only knowledge IS from those books.
But if you ask questions and they sound informed and intelligent, bargain for your best price - it's a small price to pay for going all that way and not missing the point...
Fondest memory: My guide came up to me in the primary temples and offered to show me around the western group. I must have showed my skepticism because he gave me a half hour 'freebie' tour that really did open my eyes, including this image of royal lovers and their attendants.
Favorite thing: There are plenty of cheap internet places around and they're pretty quick. If you're travelling on to Orchha, make sure you get all your emailing etc out the way as the internet in Orchha is slow - I mean dead slow, just 33.6kbps. So it's really virtually unusable.
Favorite thing: True to his word, he came to collect me and on the back of his bike we went back to the store. Unfortunately my time was limited to 20mins due to going to see the sound and light show. Again this man in white truly amazed me with what he told me. He was going to put together this little pouch for me with words that would apparently change my life. He gave me a letter to read from an Italian family for which he had done the same, and their gratitude. My biggest regret, that I never got back to pick up this little pouch. At the end of my evening, it was late and the thought of travelling back to this store late at night on my own was probably not a good idea. The experience I had with this man and his words had a marked effect which lasted and lingered with me for many days.
Favorite thing: At the end of our informal tour I said I should probably be heading back to my hotel and asked for a rickshaw. He asked if he could accompany me and if we could stop by his Uncles place on the way back. I had no problem with that and we set off on a very short trip to a shop not far from my hotel. Again the lights were all off until we walked in. It was a reasonably sized store selling carpets, material, scarves and other crafts. I spent a little time over pashmina’s both for myself and a friend and got into some negotiations with one of the staff. While deciding, a tall slim man all dressed in a white traditional outfit came up to me and started making comments to me that certainly got my attention. Things he said to me during my time there could not have ever been known by anyone there or even been a haphazard guess. He called me aside outside to tell me something which he didn’t want anyone else to hear. I was blown away. The time frame he was talking about in my life and events could never have been guess work. His nephew, my young guide, told me that he did not do this with everyone and just every now and then he singled someone out. My time was short as I needed to get back to the hotel. I promised to come back if I could for this man to give me a further reading (when the power had come back on and it was cooler). My young friend put me on the back of his motorbike which was parked there and sped me off to my hotel and promised to come back at 6.00 pm to pick me up.
Favorite thing: While walking through this little village we encountered small children who he said were nephews. There were other locals making comments to him and I asked what they were saying. He said they asked if he was taking a queen on a tour. I laughed and took this with a grain of salt but still could not help being warmed by the local atmosphere.
Favorite thing: My young friend had offered to show me through his village which lay behind the shops. While we walked I asked questions. He was a student and in his holiday and leisure time he tried to take tourists to various stores and admitted that he was given a commission to do this. I found his honesty refreshing and while I was willing, I had no problem in him doing this.
Favorite thing: He took me to some material stores which also sold scarves and clothing. To cut a long story short, after trying on a few things in the narrow and cramped storage room behind the shop, I ended up ordering a raw silk jacket and pants to be made. 'Georgio Armani', as the tailor was referred, was summoned (by bike) from his home and brought in to take the measurements. I was told that the outfit would be delivered to my hotel later that night and if I wasn’t happy, I need not pay and take the goods. I had a great afternoon chatting to these people who had a great sense of humour.